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Cloud Patterns: Designing Services for Windows Azure

Azure is a new cloud computing platform under development by Microsoft ( Cloud computing allows developers to host applications in an Internet-accessible virtual environment. The environment transparently provides the hardware, software, network and storage needed by the application.

As with other cloud environments, Azure provides a hosted environment for applications. The added benefit of Azure is that .NET Framework applications can be deployed with minimal changes from their desktop siblings.

Applying service-oriented architecture (SOA) patterns and utilizing the experiences collected when implementing service-oriented solutions will be key to success when moving your services and applications into the new arena of cloud computing. To better understand how SOA patterns can be applied to Azure deployments, let’s take a look at a scenario in which a fictional bank moves its services to the cloud.

Cloud Banking

Woodgrove Bank is a small financial institution that has decided to focus on a new online banking initiative branded Woodgrove Bank Online. One of Woodgrove Bank’s most important clients, Fourth Coffee, volunteered to try out the new solution for processing card transactions. A subset of the services planned for the solution is already live, and the availability of these services has generated more interest from other customers. However, as more of the solution’s rollout is planned, challenges emerge.

The first issue pertains to scalability and reliability. Woodgrove Bank never wanted to take responsibility for hosting its IT solutions. Instead, it established a provisioning agreement with a local ISP called the Sesame Hosting Company. To date, Sesame Hosting has fulfilled the Web hosting needs of Woodgrove Bank, but the new card-processing solution has introduced scalability requirements that Sesame Hosting is not prepared to handle.

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